Thursday 19 October 2017

The "Reckless Fantasy" of Brexit

Updated 20th October ...

Only the most naively optimistic would claim that Brexit is proceeding well.  Round 5 of the negotiations ended with what appears to be only minimal progress (previous post) and some politicians are now urging the Prime Minister to abandon the negotiations unless the European Council agrees to discuss the future trading relationship - BBC News 19th October.

It is entirely reasonable to conclude that, if Brexit comes about, the United Kingdom will be seriously damaged constitutionally and very much poorer economically.  The Brexit process should be stopped by Parliament - the UK's sovereign body - reversing the leave decision.  Such a decision would be in the best national interest and could, with the right leadership, lead to steps toward rebuilding the UK and establishing a 'deep and special relationship' with the EU but as a critical member rather than as an outsider peering, like the young boy pictured, into the shop window and hoping that we had access to the goods.

Obviously there are those who will disagree with this but they should make their case and convince the nation that they are right.   Pro-Brexit politicians have failed to make such a case and prefer to talk in slogans about ships and slipways whilst refusing to publish studies about the likely impact of Brexit on sectors of the economy.  (Litigation may be coming about that).  Beyond the slogans it is not possible to find concrete examples of good news that will emerge due to Brexit.  Any examples are welcome!

In an elegantly written article, Dr Phil Syrpis (Professor of EU Law - Bristol) has summarised the reasons why Brexit ought to be ended now - A call to stop Brexit - 18th October 2017.

The article has appeared against the background of inflation hitting 2.8% (and rising), the pound at a low exchange rate against the Euro (1.1185 today) and the OECD issuing a report (Here and Here) which raises major concerns about the future of the economy if Brexit takes place.

The possibility of a "no deal" Brexit is being taken seriously by at least one Parliamentary Committee - (Here).  On 26th September, the House of Lords EU Select Committee commenced a new inquiry - , Brexit: deal or no deal?  The  inquiry will "examine the key components of any implementation, or transition period, including its legal basis, the institutional structures that will be needed to support it, and the likely cost to the UK, particularly in form of ongoing budgetary contributions. On the other side of the coin, the Committee will consider the implications of a failure to reach agreement on transition – a ‘no deal’ scenario."

Further news is that progress on the the convoluted European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is being delayed due to the large number of amendments being sought by MPs - The Independent 13th October.   As at 18th October, the amendment list extended to 146 pages.

That is the depressing background which prompted Dr. Syrpis to write his article where he states: "Unless advocates of the Brexit cause can point to political, social and economic benefits associated with Brexit, and unless they can demonstrate, in concrete terms, how these benefits are to be realised – and thus far, they have singularly failed to do so – we should not be prepared to allow them to indulge in their reckless fantasy."


The Guardian 18th October - Brexit plan 'in paralysis' with ministers set to delay EU withdrawal bill

The Independent (Ireland) 19th October - It's hard to understand what the UK wants from Brexit' - Leo Varadkar

Updates 20th October:

A reminder of the Prime Minister's speech in Florence.

David Davis - update to the House of Commons on Round 5 of the Brexit negotiations

EU General Affairs Council 17th October - and including a briefing paper on Art 50 - Background brief (Art.50)

The Telegraph 19th October - Theresa May has appealed to EU leaders to give her a deal that she can "defend" to the British people as she rejected their demands to agree to a huge Brexit divorce bill.

The Independent 19th October - Delay to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - due to the large number of amendments

Prime Minister's open letter to EU citizens in the UK

Parlemeter survey - 55 per cent of British people consider EU membership to have been of benefit to the country, according to a European Parliament survey published Wednesday, with only 26 per cent seeing no benefit.

Department for Exiting the EU papers updated to 17th October

Express 20th October - Theresa May warns EU leaders that she will walk away from any proposed Brexit deal that she cannot "defend" to the British people

Daily Record 20th October - It's grim being Prime Minister with the clock ticking down on UK's departure date from the EU

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